41: Making and Saving Money Without Credit Cards


Thanks for joining me for episode 41 — Saving and making money without credit cards. I discuss 15 areas that will allow you to prosper.

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Show notes:

Cash App/Cash App debit card referral link: https://hurdygurdytravel.com/donate-referral-links/

Venmo debit card: https://venmo.com/card

CVS Carepass: https://www.cvs.com/carepass/join (use shopping portal before signing up for a possible bonus)

Oxygen debit card referral link: https://hurdygurdytravel.com/donate-referral-links/

Dosh referral link: https://hurdygurdytravel.com/donate-referral-links/

Pei referral link: https://hurdygurdytravel.com/donate-referral-links/

Raise referral link: https://hurdygurdytravel.com/donate-referral-links/

CashbackMonitor.com: https://www.cashbackmonitor.com/

Best bank account bonuses – Doctor of Credit: https://www.doctorofcredit.com/best-bank-account-bonuses/

American Express Serve Card (get the Green no-fee load version): https://www.serve.com/

American Express Bluebird card: https://www.bluebird.com/

Fluz referral link: https://hurdygurdytravel.com/donate-referral-links/

WeBull referral link: https://hurdygurdytravel.com/donate-referral-links/

Episode 23 Gift cards and credit with Stephen Pepper: https://hurdygurdytravel.com/2020/04/19/episode-23-gift-cards-and-credit-with-stephen-pepper/

Panera Bread coffee subscription: https://www.panerabread.com/en-us/mypanera/mypanera-coffee-subscription.html

MyVegas strategy: https://hurdygurdytravel.com/2020/05/22/myvegas-strategy-may-2020/

Rough Transcript:

You’re listening to the Hurdy Gurdy Travel Podcast. I’m your host, Justin Vacula, here to help you travel the world at next to no cost through credit card points, miles, benefits, and rewards. Make money, save money, and take advantage of great deals!

Visit my website at HurdyGurdyTravel.com to contact me, find me on social media, read episode transcripts, and support the show through Patreon, SubscribeStar, and referral links! More information at the end of the show…

Thanks for joining me for episode 41 — Saving and making money without credit cards. I discuss 15 areas that will allow you to prosper.

Most of my focus revolves around credit cards, but I’m able to make and save money in many ways having nothing whatsoever to do with credit. Some listeners of this podcast aren’t ready to sign up for credit cards, have anxiety surrounding credit, or have low credit and aren’t able to get premium credit cards…but all hope is not lost. I often encourage people to start somewhere even if the steps are small. Small steps can build confidence, come with very little risk, and can allow you to scale up to bigger and better things in the future! Here are 15 areas that allow me to make and save money without credit:

1) The Cash App! The Cash App, as you can guess from the name, is a mobile app that is primarily used to send and receive money. One lesser-known feature of the app is the Cash App debit card which gives cashback on common purchases through boosts you must add to the debit card before purchases. No credit check is needed for the Cash App debit card – you just need to link Cash App to an existing checking account to load funds.

In recent weeks, the Cash App offered boosts including 10% off at grocery stores and Walgreens for a maximum of $7.50 savings on purchases of $75 or more. I used the Cash App debit card to buy Amazon gift cards to cover purchases I commonly make and it’s super easy especially as a separate transaction when you’re at a grocery store buying things as normal. This week, the 10% off grocery offer returned alongside discounts on Doordash, Playstation Network, Xbox, Walmart, Chic-fil-A, Wendy’s, and Taco Bell – lots of opportunities for gift card purchases and regular spending!

Maybe you’ll buy other gift cards which usually don’t go on sale like Best Buy. Buying Starbucks gift cards would be a poor choice because there are many ways to save at Starbucks which I’ll get into later in this episode. Knowledge of deals and the gift card marketplace really helps! As you spend more time with this hobby, particularly checking websites, you’ll get a hang of what is and is not a good deal. ..and gift cards aren’t the only option with the Cash App of course because you can use it to pay for groceries – anything sold inside a grocery store as long as it codes as a grocery store – so Target and Wal-Mart, for example, may not qualify. If you’re totally new to the Cash App, visit the referral tab on my website at hurdygurdytravel.com to get a bonus $5 for signing up for the Cash App!

2) Venmo. Venmo is a mobile app similar to Cash App in that you can use it to transfer and receive money. Venmo also has a debit card which, at the end of July 2020, is offering 5% back at drugstores for a maximum of $10 a day – so up to $10 back on purchases up to $200. Once again, this can be a great opportunity to buy gift cards like Amazon and Best Buy. I wouldn’t suggest, in most cases, buying merchandise at drugstores because, at least in my experience, items are really expensive compared to grocery stores, but there may be good deals. There’s a great stacking opportunity, though, for CVS, which I’ll discuss for the next area!

3) CVS Carepass! CVS has an annual-fee membership program called CVS Carepass which, at the end of July of 2020, costs $48 a year, and for that $48 you’ll get many benefits most prominently including $10 a month store credit – $120 in store credit per year! Regularly, CVS e-mails me coupons for up to 40% off items which aren’t on sale…and you can stack coupons with the $10 store credit! I’m prone to motion sickness, so I typically buy special gum or tablets with my Carepass benefit. I also buy protein powder with greens which, after a coupon discount and the Carepass benefit, usually costs me less than $5 and of course I swipe the Venmo debit card for additional savings! CVS Carepass also includes 20% off all CVS brand items, free shipping for online purchases, free prescription delivery, and much more!

4) Oxygen. The Oxygen debit card is similar to Cash App in that it offers cashback on various transactions. On July 30th of 2020, Oxygen is offering 5% off food delivery, $1 off a purchase of $2 or more at coffee shops and restaurants, 5% off gas transactions to a max of $10 cashback, 7% cashback off rideshare, and 7% back at Wal-Mart. Simply add funds from a linked checking account, activate cashback offers, and you’re good to save! For what may be a limited time, if you use my referral link found at hurdygurdytravel.com, you get a $25 signup bonus if you load $200 to your account and make five transactions in the first 60 days with the account.

5) Dosh. Dosh is a mobile app that allows users to link debit and credit cards to gain cashback. Unlike Cash App and Oxygen, no enrollment in offers is needed – earning is passive and occurs without you having to plan. I’ve received cashback on purchases at Staples, Denny’s, Sam’s Club, and many other retailers. Since 2018, I’ve earned more than $300! If you sign up for Dosh using my referral link at hurdygurdytravel.com, you’ll get a $5 signup bonus!

6) Pei. Pei, P-E-I is a mobile app very similar to Dosh. Link credit or debit cards and gain cashback without having to activate offers for purchases made at retailers including Walgreens, CVS, Gamestop, Starbucks, and Subway! Gain a $5 signup bonus when using my referral link or code at hurdygurdytravel.com.

7) Raise.com. Raise is a website that allows users to buy gift cards at discounted rates. Rather than using cash or debit directly with merchants, buy a gift card from Raise.com to enjoy discounts including — on July 30 of 2020 — 22% off Jiffy Lube, 11% off Auto Zone, 10% off Cracker Barrel, 10% off JcPenny, and so much more including Lowe’s and Home Depot. Use my referral link at hurdygurdytravel.com for a $5 signup bonus after you make your first purchase.

Raise often has sitewide sales offering additional discounts or cashback or offers deals on specific gift card brands. Soon after buying from Raise, you’ll have a gift card voucher with no expiration date e-mailed to you and loaded to your account. You can use the TopCashback shopping portal to save additional money..and that brings us to

8) Shopping portals! Rather than directly going to merchant websites, you can first visit websites known as shopping portals which offer cashback after making qualifying purchases. I regularly visit the website cashbackmonitor.com where I search for merchants and then use shopping portals which offer the best discounts. I most commonly use Rakuten, Swagbucks, and TopCashback and would be grateful if you used my referral links for these shopping portals!

9) Bank account bonuses! This month, I opened two checking accounts to get a total of $600 dollars. I mentioned the limited time $300 offer at Santander bank in podcast episode 38. The other account, easily opened online, was a $300 bonus with TD Bank which will be awarded after qualifying direct deposits show in the account. Other accounts, like Santander, don’t require direct deposits, but instead monthly transactions, deposits, and minimum account balances.

Bank bonuses have attached terms and conditions and ways to waive monthly fees, so be mindful of conditions surrounding accounts you open. It’s nice to have multiple bank accounts for convenience, future offers including better chances with credit card applications, and even possible cashback from debit card offers. I’m usually not a fan of opening an account lacking a bonus, so I’d recommend waiting for bonuses available in your area.

10) American Express Shop Small offers on Serve and BlueBird reloadable debit cards! American Express is currently offering $5 off purchases of $10 or more at participating small businesses. You can look at Amex’s Shop Small map to see which businesses near you or even primarily online-based businesses qualify. Friends report neighborhood or smaller grocery store chains qualifying and so so so many restaurants near me are on the Shop Small map.

You can apply for Serve and Bluebird reloadable debit cards online. Bluebird has no monthly fee and Serve only changes a small monthly fee if you have a balance, but it’s well worth it especially if you’re using Serve as a replacement for a checking account, loading funds from other cards, and of course, getting $5 back through the current Shop Small offers. You can gain a bonus ten times per card, so that’s $100 up for grabs! …and the Shop Small bonus can also activate through use of the Fluz app — that’s F-L-U-Z which brings us to…

11) Fluz! Fluz is a mobile app that allows you to buy gift cards including Amazon, Starbucks, Dunkin’, CVS, Uber Eats, and so much more! Last week, I bought multiple $15 Amazon gift cards (that was the minimum denomination) to redeem $5 Shop Small bonuses. This week, I used 35% off vouchers to buy $15 Starbucks gift cards which came to slightly more than $10 so the Shop Small offers could trigger. You can get three 35% off vouchers when you use my Fluz referral link at hurdygurdytravel.com.

12) Investing apps. I really like opening multiple brokerage accounts through investing apps to receive signup bonuses! Rather than having lots of money sitting in a checking account doing very little for you, consider putting your money to work especially investing in good index funds like VTSAX or VOO. I’m happy to trade maybe five or ten minutes of time when I see promotions offering free stocks or cash when investing even small amounts of money like $100 to $300.

The investing app WeBull is currently offering two free stocks valued between $12 and $1400 for funding an account with $100. Use my referral link at hurdygurdytravel.com for the bonus! I’ve also invested with SoFi, Ellevest, Swell, and US Bank. I discussed the US Bank self-directed investing account in episode 30 of this podcast. Currently, there’s no signup bonus with the US Bank brokerage account, but it can allow you to qualify for a checking account bonus and improve chances of getting US Bank credit cards. In fact, a relationship with US Bank is needed for their prestigious amazing Altitude Reserve card I reviewed in episode 40.

13) Gas and grocery reward programs! Through use of credit cards and buying gift cards during special promotions, I pay next to nothing for gas and groceries. You too can save depending on your local grocery chains even if you’re not spending much. Stores including Kroger, Winn-Dixie, Giant, Acme, Harris Teeter, Weis, and many others offer opportunities to save and even small amounts of gift card purchases can make a difference. Why not enroll and have a shot?

Gas stations, most prominently Speedway, have nice reward programs and promotions also giving points with gift card purchases. The best promotion I saw was a bonus $15 voucher and 4000 points worth about $4 when buying a $100 Best Buy or Home Depot gift card. I discussed this at fuller length in episode 23 with special guest Stephen Pepper from GCgalore.com and FrequentMiler.com.

14) Panera Bread! At the end of July 2020, Panera is currently offering a free coffee subscription when signing up through their app! Normally, Panera charges $8.99 a month for the coffee subscription, but it’s free for now at least until they begin to charge which appears to be September. I’ll be happy to pay when the promotion ends – perhaps $0.30 a day…but that’s not the end of the story because each visit, even when spending nothing, generates a reward point, progress towards a reward like a free bakery item or money off a future purchase.

A handful of times each year, Panera offers a buy $50 get $10 promotion – when buying a $50 Panera gift card in-store, you get a bonus $10 gift card which lasts for about two months. You can buy Panera gift cards with various Happy-branded gift cards that occasionally go on sale or have associated rebates. Weeks ago, Amazon was selling $50 Happy cards for $40. At the moment, stores including Safeway and Acme are offering 10x rewards points on various Happy cards!

Finally, #15: MyVegas! MyVegas is a term I use for multiple free-to-play slot games which allow you to redeem points for real-life casino rewards including free rooms, match play, free play, and free food. Earning points is a low-effort proposition especially since you can put games on auto-spin. Check-in every few hours, open e-mails, click Facebook links, and click phone pop-ups for bonus chips that keep you in the game. For a deeper dive, visit my YouTube channel Hurdy Gurdy Travel Podcast for videos where I show gameplay and discuss strategy!

There you have it: a brief overview of 15 areas for making money and saving money without the use of credit cards! Each of these topics could be and have been individual episodes, but hopefully, you enjoyed the brief overview and learned about new opportunities or plans of attack! Whether or not you have premium credit cards, you have much to gain through these tips!

Feel free to ask questions in the comments, talk about ways you save or make money, and contact me for a deeper dive! Using some of these methods can help you prepare for more advanced plays and credit cards. For a deeper drive and personalized support, subscribe to me on Patreon or Subscribestar where I will more openly discuss my methods and focus on your situation.

Thanks for listening and stay tuned for more content!

Visit my website at HurdyGurdyTravel.com where you can contact me, read episode transcripts, complete a free credit card questionnaire to receive tailored recommendations, follow me on social media, listen to past episodes, and subscribe to my mailing list.

Support my work through PayPal, the Cash App, and using referral links by visiting the donate tab on my website. Subscribe on my Patreon and SubscribeStar pages to receive perks including special one-on-one private consultations, a custom podcast episode, and the ability to ask podcast guests your questions!

Subscribe on YouTube at Hurdy Gurdy Travel Podcast; like my Hurdy Gurdy Travel Podcast Facebook page; follow HGtravelpodcast on Twitter, and follow Justin Vacula on Instagram.

Stay tuned to my website for announcements of upcoming YouTube livestreams – the next one will be July 28th at 9PM Eastern!

Schedule a free 15-minute consultation with full-time business coach and YouTuber Cakeologi who can help you formally establish your business, build business credit, and get premium business credit cards. When you select from various paid services after the free consultation, I will receive credit for referring you. Listen to Cakeologi on episode twelve of my podcast. Visit his websites at cakeologi.com – that’s c-a-k-e-o-l-o-g-i and burstbiz.com – b-u-r-s-t-b-i-z and tell him I sent you. E-mail him youtube@cakeologi.com

Visit my other podcast at stoicsolutionspodcast.com where you can find practical wisdom for everyday life inspired by the ancient philosophers of Greece and Rome.

Thanks to generous patrons and fans of this podcast who help support my work. Have a great day!


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